Dr Ayelet Kuper's research program focuses on the relationship between currently accepted epistemologies and knowledge production modalities within medical and medical education research on the legitimacy and/or limitations of particular subject areas within mainstream health professions education research and within health professional curricula. Her work, which provides evidence for the need to broaden current definitions of legitimate medical knowledge, has important implications for teaching and learning about key patient-care-related concepts such as equity, power, culture, justice, and reflexivity. These concepts both enhance daily clinical and educational encounters and enable physicians to address the structural and process-related challenges that currently hinder their ability to provide equitable care.
Dr Kuper's work also addresses the origins and history of the field of medical education research and the effects of that history (e.g. sociohistorical factors and the struggle for legitimacy between disciplines and methods) on the definitions of legitimate knowledge production within this field. She strives to bring theoretical and methodological perspectives from her humanities and social sciences background to areas of health professions education research which have evolved within limiting epistemological frameworks. She is involved in publications and knowledge translation activities designed to enhance clinicians' understanding of qualitative methods in healthcare and related research. She is also actively involved in implementation and knowledge translation activities related to her research, particularly with respect to introducing and legitimizing non-bioscientific knowledge within medical and other health professional curricula at multiple sites across Ontario.
Dr Kuper graduated from Harvard College summa cum laude in Biology in 1994. She completed graduate school in Medieval and Modern Languages at Magdalen College, Oxford as a Rhodes scholar, receiving a Masters degree (Research Methods in Modern Languages) in 1995 and a Doctorate two years later. In 1997 she enrolled in medical school and then in an Internal Medicine residency at the University of Toronto, finishing her clinical training as a Chief Medical Resident (University Health Network/Mount Sinai Hospital) in 2004-2005. Between 2005 and 2007 she undertook a Masters degree in Education (Health Professions specialization) at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education and a Fellowship at the Wilson Centre for Research in Education. She joined the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto in 2007 as an Internist based at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, where she attends on the General Medicine wards 9 weeks per year. Dr. Kuper is an Associate Professor, Clinician-Scientist, and Co-Lead for Person-Centred Care Education in the Department of Medicine, a Centre Scientist and Associate Director (Fellowship) at the Wilson Centre for Research in Education, a Cross-Appointed Faculty Member at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education and at the Institute for Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, and a Senior Fellow at Massey College, all at the University of Toronto.